26 Nov 2014

Paris Police Station

In A View to a Kill, Bond gets arrested by the French police after chasing May Day through Paris in a stolen taxi. Bond ends up at the Paris Police station where he, supposedly the morning after, is picked up by M.

Bond, M and Sir Godfrey are driven off along the river Seine in a Peugeot 604 limousine.

The car comes out from a building that is supposed to be the police headquarters, and the Paris police can still be seen coming out of this building, but in fact, the building also houses the French Court of last instance, or the court of last resort. It is called the Conciergerie and is located in the heart of Paris on Île de la Cité.

The building can be found along the Quai de l'Horloge. Some of the high courts and tribunals of France are located in the adjacent buildings.

The Conciergerie is the oldest remaining part of the Palais de la Cité, the first royal palace in the French capital that was used as a prison during the French Revolution. The building with its characteristic round towers can also be found on postcards throughout the city.

On the other side of the river Seine are the real headquarters for the Prefect of Police, where Bond probably would have been picked up by M today.

8 Nov 2014

The Persuarders! - Lord Sinclair's London residence

In the third episode of The Persuaders! named 'Take Seven', we get to see the exterior of Lord Brett Sinclair's London apartment. Lord Sinclair resides at the prestigious Queen Anne's gate. Located only ten minutes from the Abbey and Big Ben, this is the very heart of London.

Brett's very ''subtle'' Aston Martin is conveniently parked just outside his front door, although I do not expect people to have the same respect for his Lordship's parking space today and leave it unblocked.

The fictitious number 53 was used in the episode. In reality, Lord Sinclair's residence can be found at No. 15.

This is probably one of the better residential areas in London, considering that you are in the very city centre, and you do not hear a sound from the London traffic. All the historic signs on the houses also reveal the high reputation this street has enjoyed over the decades.

As Brett and Danny leave the apartment and drive off in Brett's Aston Martin, they are followed by a suspicious man in a car, not entirely unlike several other episodes in the series. In the background, as they drive off, between the two houses at the end of the street, Big Ben is visible. The metal fence in front of the building appears to be the same as in 1971. The bad guy is driving a Fiat 125, probably equally bad as any of the small British cars produced at the time.

Big Ben visible between the houses at the end of the street

To put Lord Sinclair's apartment on this street was probably a decision of the filmmakers that was based on the street's history. The houses along this very street have been homes to several Lords over the past centuries, and several houses have round blue signs that informs visitors about the historic significance. Hence, this apartment has probably been in the Sinclair family for generations, passed on to the eldest son of every Sinclair generation, presently in the hands of Brett.

1 Nov 2014

El Gran Palacio Hotel, Cuba - Cadiz

In Die Another Day, Bond checks in to El Gran Palacio Hotel, supposedly located in Cuba. The Hotel has a convenient view over Los Organos and the Alvarez Clinic, which has attracted Bond's attention. Through his friend Raoul, Bond has learned that Zao is hiding at the strange clinic and Bond drives there in a Ford Fairlane supplied by Raoul. Bond is arriving at what can only be presumed to be the best hotel in town, conveniently located right on the beach.

The building, however, is not located in Cuba, and it's not a hotel. This scene and the following scenes at the beach were filmed on the Spanish Atlantic coast, namely, in the old part of the city of Cádiz. The "hotel entrance" is actually only a small building that is connected via a short path, to the larger building that was used as Bond's hotel in the film, situated right on the beach.

                     "Mojito por favor."

Originally, the entire complex was build as a spa in the 1920's, named Spa of Nuestra Señora de la Palma y del Real. Today, the building houses a maritime centre, Centro de Arqueología Subacuática de Andalucía. Apparently, the sub-aquatic centre specialises in the investigation and protection of marine life. The main building is not open to the public.

Brosnan walking in with "The birds of the West Indies" in his hand.

'El Gran Palacio Hotel' is, naturally, a must see when in Cádiz. The entire location is very recognisable and the fact that the rest of the hotel scenes as well as Halle Berry's coming out of the water scene were filmed on this location makes it very enjoyable. From the beach in front of the marine centre, you have an actual view over 'La clinica Alvarez', so you can easily spend a few hours in the sun on this beach.

The fictious sign in the film has clearly been inspired by the real sign.

According to the map in Raoul's office, Los Organos would be located in the Guadiana Bay in the very western part of Cuba. Bond has probably driven across half of Cuba and then taken a boat to Isla Los Organos, which would explain how he can arrive by car.
In Cádiz, driving along Avenida Duque de Nájera in the southern direction you will arrive the same way as Bond did in the film. Do not expect to find a parking space as easily as Brosnan did though. The rest of Bond's hotel and the Alvarez clinic will be covered later.